SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA — In a stunning series of revelations that turned the tech world on its head, a trio of tech giants announced plans for a smart toaster. Apple, Microsoft, and Google held launch parties this weekend for a series of new devices. This brave reporter attended all three.
Microsoft has bought the popular IM/voice chat application Skype (well, not just the product, the whole company) for $8.5 billion, making it Microsoft’s largest purchase ever. I find that a little funny since Skype actually made a loss of $7 million last year.
But, when you think about it, it makes some sense. Skype has 663 million user accounts (of course, not all of them are active) and about 8 million paying users – obviously not very many, but it’s still some.
If you’ve bought an electronic device in the last year, you’ll notice that Microsoft is hawking its search engine Bing more than I hawk my products. (On a totally unrelated note, download Cabra, my free and open-source flashcard program.)
That’s all well and good, since you’re allowed to advertise, but Microsoft really goes to the extreme:
Microsoft signed a deal with Blackberry so that Bing would be the only search engine available on Blackberrys.
My sister bought a new computer and was offered a free song download if she searched with Bing.
Well, not really kill, just bring down. But it makes the title sound nice.
In other news, Microsoft has finally done something right by bringing down Rustock, a botnet that infected millions of computers and caused them to send massive amounts of spam. Rustock was one of the (if not the) biggest spam networks in the world.
Microsoft (and some feds) raided some hosting facilities in the US and took down the servers that instructed infected computers to send spam.
Well done, Bill, you’ve finally done something right. Internet Explorer 9 is now out and can be downloaded from microsoft.com. Here’s the catch: it only works on Windows Vista and 7.
Let me repeat that:
It only works in Vista and 7. It doesn’t work in XP.
Thoughts on the new browser
For one thing, it’s a lot better than Internet Explorer 8, although that isn’t saying much. To be honest, it’s actually decent; Internet Explorer can now compete with the other popular browsers like Firefox and Chrome.